Skip to main content

“Holocaust and the Burden of History” is Focus of 2016-17 Holocaust Living History Workshop Series


  • Nikki Kolupailo

Media Contact:

Published Date


  • Nikki Kolupailo

Share This:

Article Content


Halina Olomucki, Portrait of a Woman Warsaw after 1945

“Holocaust and the Burden of History” is Focus of 2016-17 Holocaust Living History Workshop Series at UC San Diego

The Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLWH) at the University of California San Diego kicks off a year-long series of educational events with two compelling programs this fall, underscoring this year’s theme “Holocaust and the Burden of History.” The 2016-17 workshop events will approach the Holocaust from various angles to shed light on lesser-known aspects of the atrocities committed, such as the transgenerational transmission of trauma. The series, now in its ninth year of programming, is presented by the UC San Diego Library and the UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program.

HLHW events are designed to broaden understanding of the past, foster tolerance, and preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Members of the public and campus community are invited to attend the events to hear from local Holocaust survivors, witnesses, relatives, and scholars as they share their personal stories and memories. All events are free and held on the UC San Diego campus in Geisel Library’s Seuss Room from 5 to 7 p.m., with some exceptions as noted.


Jewish Holocaust survivor, Aaron Cohen

October 5—The Power of One: The Holocaust in Bulgaria with Aaron Cohen

The Lou Dunst Memorial Lecture

The first event this fall will be held on Wednesday, October 5, featuring Aaron Cohen, a Jewish Holocaust survivor born in Bulgaria in 1929. Bulgaria officially joined the Axis powers on March 1, 1941 and the stage seemed set for the deportation of the local Jewish community. Thanks to the intervention of King Boris who refused to give in to the pressure of his German allies, thousands of Jews miraculously survived. Among them was Aaron Cohen. Despite the dramatic events unfolding around him, Cohen lived a relatively normal childhood going to Jewish summer camps and public school. In the fall of 1944, several weeks after the Soviet entry into Bulgaria, he emigrated to Palestine with Youth Aliyah, an organization that rescued Jewish children from Nazi-occupied countries. Here he helped found Kibbutz Urim in Negev. Eight years later, after marrying a young American woman, he moved to and settled in the United States. Cohen will share his remarkable story of resilience in the face of adversity and the power of one person to make a difference.

November 2—Mr. Rakowski – An Original Documentary by Jan Diederen with Richie Rakowski

Sponsored by Laurayne Ratner

Co-Sponsored by UC San Diego’s Thurgood Marshall College

On Wednesday, November 2, the HLHW series will feature a screening of the original documentary, Mr. Rakowski, by Dutch filmmaker Jan Diederen. Focused on the troubled relationship of Polish-born Sam Rakowski, a survivor of Auschwitz, and his son Richie, a successful businessman residing in New York, the film illuminates the devastating impacts of the transgenerational transmission of trauma. Acting as a vigilant mediator, Diederen’s camera enables a painful process of communication between two wounded people, while promising hope and reconciliation. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Richie Rakowski and Robert Schneider, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe and the co-director of the documentary, Think Only of Today: The Impact of the Holocaust on Three Generations.

In addition to the HLHW lecture series, which attempts to teach the history of the Holocaust through face-to-face interactions, the HLHW also engages Holocaust survivors, their relatives, students, and interested members of the public through the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive. The Archive was created by film maker Steven Spielberg to document the stories of Holocaust survivors for his movie, Schindler’s List. In 1994, Spielberg established the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, a non-profit organization, to collect and preserve firsthand accounts of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The foundation became the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in 2006.

The UC San Diego Library is one of only three university libraries on the West Coast to have access to the Visual History Archive, which includes 52,000 digital oral testimonies recorded by Holocaust survivors and witnesses. Members of the campus community and the public can access the testimonies housed in the Visual History Archive, which come from 40,000 specific geographic locations in languages ranging from Bulgarian and Greek to Japanese and Spanish, from any computer on the UC San Diego campus.

For more information about UC San Diego's Holocaust Living History Workshop, contact Susanne Hillman at or 858-534-7661. More information can also be found at

Share This:

Category navigation with Social links